NyQuil Wimps Out

For at least twenty years I’ve depended on a combination of NyQuil and DayQuil to get me through some nasty colds, as does my wife. Since Tuesday I’ve been struggling with a cold that seems to be clearing now, but has exhausted my current supply, so last night I headed down to a local pharmacy to pick up new bottles.

I was looking at the store brand right next to the NyQuil when I noticed something funny. The store brand no longer said, “Compare to ingredients in NyQuil” like the store brand usually does when it wants to clue you in to the fact that it’s the exact same medicine, only 20-50% cheaper; so I looked closer.

Comparing the ingredients side-by-side I realized that the store brand contained pseudoephedrine (sounded vaguely familiar) but the NyQuil contained phenylephrine, which I didn’t think I’d heard of before. Had the scientists at Vicks invented some new, patented nasal decongestant the store brands couldn’t copy yet?

Well, no. They hadn’t. After I got home, I did a little googling and discovered that the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act now prohibited the sale of pseudoephedrine containing cold medicine off of store shelves. NyQuil decided that rather than requiring customers to ask a pharmacist for the product, they’d reformulate it with an older, less effective decongestant; but one that has the completely useless quality of being not quite as easily able to be turned into crystal meth.

The law doesn’t seem to be working by the way. I was easily able to buy two bottles of store brand NyQuil and DayQuil, both mimicking the old formulas with pseudoephedrine instead of phenylephrine. Perhaps the cash register automatically logged the purchase, though I’m not sure what good that did anyone since I paid cash. I didn’t have to show ID. So here we have a law that merely inconveniences legitimate users and doesn’t seem to stop illegitimate ones. Why does this remind me of DRM?

7 Responses to “NyQuil Wimps Out”

  1. robert Says:

    Reminds me of “Robo Cop”, and before that, Orwell. I can’t imagine what 4 year olds will face as adults.

  2. stephen Says:

    I’m _really_ surprised you got the store brand off the shelf. All pharmacies around here were completely cleared out by the staff when the law came into effect.

    Try being an allergy sufferer, and you’ll see how stupid the law is. You’re limited to one box of Claritin-D at a time, so often my wife and I each have to go through the cash separately just to be able to buy enough.

    Target scans your driver’s license. Other stores write out your name, address and phone by hand in a log. Theoretically you’re limited to three boxes a month, though I have no idea how they would ever check that.

    It’s especially idiotic, since no meth dealer ever _bought_ product. They shoplifted it. All they needed to do is what Canada did and move it behind the counter so it can’t be shoplifted.

  3. Joe Says:

    For a view of the people on the other side (those trying to fight the drug that is ruining thousands of people’s lives) check out the PBS Frontline program on meth, complete program viewable for free online.

  4. Philip Says:

    I must agree with Joe, that Frontline really opened my eyes, amazing, a MUST see. The east coast has not seen the problem at its fullest yet, see the map

    Map of the meth epidemic.

  5. Scott C. Jones Says:

    You know, I’m not a big “The War on Drugs Isn’t Working” kind of guy but now I see where people are coming from. I bought NyQuil specifically for the “stuffy head” portion which is no longer on the label because there’s no pseudoephedrine. Stupid.

  6. Robin Says:

    It’s a load of bull. Taking pseudoephedrine out of OTC meds isn’t going to stop meth abuse. It just inconveniences those of us who need the drug for legit purposes. OTC cold medication– which wasn’t that great to begin with– becomes even less effective. If you have a cold– or worse– constant sinus infection from allergies– you are now stuck suffering or forced to pay for really expensive prescription stuff. The drug nazis strike again, pummelling us with ineffective legislation. I really hope this law gets reversed.

  7. Buy 5-IAI Online Says:

    Those online shops will never go away. The solution to this is simple just legalise bud.

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